2x Commonwealth Games Weightlifting gold medalist and

SCAL Brand Ambassador

Our Brand Ambassador


Steven Kukuna Kari

  • Born in 1993 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

  • Started weightlifting at age 11 years old at hi s Uncle's gym.

  • Inspir ed by his uncle, Douglas Mea who also represented PNG internationally in weightlifting. His older sister, Rita Kari, was also a PNG representative in weightlifting.

  • Trained at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute (New Caledonia) under renowned super coach, Paul Coffa.

  • Height: 170cm

  • Current Weight Class: 94kg (2018 Commonwealth Games)

Steven Kukuna Kari is the first PNG athlete ever to win two Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Like SCAL, Steven is born and raised locally and has successfully put PNG on the to the entire world through his achievements in his sport. We, at SCAL are inspired by Steven's determination and drive to achieve whatever he sets his mind to. He attributes his achievements to his christian faith and dedication to his training that is driven by extreme focus and a hunger to continuously push his abilities to the next level. This is what has driven him to work immensely hard to overcome many sacrifices and challenges along the way to becoming regarded as one of the top weightlifters in the world in his weight division. These are values that strongly relate to SCAL's philosophy of 'loyalty' and 'going beyond the call of duty' hence SCAL is proud to support Steven to excel even further and also share his powerful story to inspire others through through school visits and other activities.

The Humble Beginnings

Steven comes from a traditional village called 'Hanuabada' in Port Moresby, along with other elite PNG weightlifting stars and fellow Commonwealth Games medalists, Dika Toua and Morea Baru. He took up weightlifting at age 11, training at his uncle's make-shift gym that was set up under a mango tree. At 16 years of age, Steven was selected by the PNG Weightlifting Federation for a full-time training scholarship at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia under renowned coach Paul Coffa, to which he accepted. This was one of the most important decisions of his life because he ultimately made the decision to sacrifice his formal education to pursue his dream of representing PNG at the highest levels of his sport.

In 2010, at just 16 years old, Steven made his Commonwealth Games debut in Dehli, India where he finished 4th place. The following year, Steven made his debut at the 2011 Pacific Games making a gold medal clean-sweep in the 85kg division. In 2012, he made his Olympics debut at the 2012 Olympics in London, finishing 12th in the Men's 85kg division. Four years later, Steven created PNG sporting history at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, when he won PNG's first ever Gold medal in weightlifting in the coveted 94kg division. Steven created more history at the 2018 Commonwealth games in Australia by winning his second consecutive gold medal, again in the 94kg division in a dramatic finish.

Back-to-back Commonwealth Gold

Steven created more PNG sporting history at the 2018 Commonwealth games in Australia by winning his second consecutive gold medal, again in the 94kg division in a dramatic finish that can only be described as an incredible show of Steven's strength and indomitable will. For his winning lift, Steven added an unthinkable 14kg on to his last successful Clean & Jerk lift of 202kg; and against all odds and expectations at the time, he successfully lifted the record-breaking 216kg to win the gold medal by only one kilogram and set a new Commonwealth Games record for Clean & Jerk. Steven's winning lift is regarded by many to be one of the greatest moments in PNG, weightlifting and Commonwealth Games history.